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and results I observed I had already explored for myself some years before and had rejected most of them as a waste of time." (Publicity information issued by the Betty Parsons Gallery, which has since closed, where he exhibited from 1947 to 1951, claimed that Still had attended the Art Students League.) Returning west in 1926, Still attended Spokane University for one year and then moved to Canada. He returned to Spokane in 1931 and was awarded a teaching fellowship in art at the university. From 1933 to 1941 he taught at Washington State College, and he spent the summers of 1934 and 1935 at Yaddo, a working retreat for people in the arts. In 1941 he moved to San Francisco where he spent two years working in the war industries as a steel checker for the navy in Oakland and then as a materials-release engineer for Hammond Aircraft. In 1943 Still met Mark Rothko, with whom he later carried on an extensive correspondence. That same year Still moved to Virginia and taught at the Richmond Professional Institute. After a year in New York City and a brief stay in Canada, Still returned to San Francisco in 1946 and taught at the California School of Fine Arts, where he remained until 1950. In 1947 he had a solo exhibition at the Parsons Gallery, and while he was in New York Still proposed to Mark Rothko and Douglas MacAgy a school where practicing artists would instruct younger ones. The following summer a group of artists - including William Baziotes, Rothko, Robert Motherwell, David Hare and Barnett Newman - held further discussions about the proposed school, but it never came off. In 1950, at the age of 46, he moved to New York again. Removing himself from the art world in 1961, he moved to rural Maryland, where he lived until his death, though he traveled to New York and California regularly. Still was an intensely private person who refrained from discussing his personal life. He was married twice and had two daughters by his first wife. Still exhibited his works infrequently - not at all from 1951 to 1959 - and rarely through dealers. He showed his works in only three commercial galleries: the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1947, 1950 and 1951; the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery in 1969; and Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century gallery in 1946. The last was less a commercial gallery than an exhibition center for unknown artists, and Marlborough-Gerson had purchased the paintings - 44 altogether - in advance of the show. (According to Mrs. Still, her husband requested that Frank Lloyd, the Marlborough's owner, not have the exhibition but instead show the paintings individually to people interested in them. But Pierre Levai, director of Marlborough, says that Still agreed to the exhibition and even worked on the catalogue.) [[image]] COURTESY SOTHEBY'S NEW YORK An untitled 1954 painting by Clyfford Still, 117 by 93 inches, set an auction record for the artist's work when it sold for $797,500 at Sotheby's, New York, in May 1985. Also infrequent were Still's loans for museum exhibitions. His first solo show was in 1943 at the San Francisco Museum of Art (now the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) and his last in 1979 at the Metropolitan. In between, according to the material he provided for the Metropolitan's catalogue of his retrospective, he declined at least four invitations to the Venice Biennale, one to the Kunsthalle in Basel and one for a solo show at the Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute (which was accompanied by a $25,000 award, which he also refused). Although in the mid-1970s Still declined an offer for a solo exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum, he had shown at the Albright Art Gallery (later called the Albright-Knox), the Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and had a separate room for his paintings in the 1952 show "15 Americans" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. During his lifetime two institutions received large gifts of his work. In 1964 Still donated 28 paintings to the Albright-Knox Gallery and in 1975 gave 31 to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In both cases he laid down restrictions that the paintings could not be sold, loaned, exchanged or hung with works of other artists and must at all times be available for study if not on exhibition. He made a similar offer to the Metropolitan about 1979, but the Met declined because of the stipulations. Still articulated his deep reflections about art in extensive journals and diaries as well as in letters (of which he kept copies), often quoting from them in catalogues that accompanied his exhibitions. By 1935, he wrote, "I realized that I would have to paint my way out of the classical European heritage," and in a 1961 letter to Gordon Smith, director of the Albright-Knox, on the eve of an exhibition of his works, Still described his view of his life's work: "It was a journey that one must make, walking straight and alone. No respite or shortcuts were permitted. And one's will had to hold against every challenge of triumph, or failure, or the praise of Vanity Fair. Until one had crossed the darkened and wasted valleys and come at last into clear air and could stand on a high and limitless plain. Imagination, no longer fettered by the laws of fear, became as one with Vision. And the Act, intrinsic and absolute, was its meaning, and the bearer of its passion. . . . Therefore, let no man undervalue February 1986/67
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